Michelle Kenneth's Hockey and Musings

Friday’s Hockey Reading Material

There are very few stories out there that just shake you to your core.  The Player’s Tribune offered up another gem today, an article from Pittsburgh Penguins’ Pascal Dupuis.  The scary part of it is the hockey player mentality of playing through a serious health issue, pretending it’s not there because you are a hockey player.  Even if the condition could possibly kill you, you play through it.  They very rarely take into account their family when they make that decision.  His story is eye opening.

“I would not recommend this to anyone but the truth is that I played five more NHL games without ⅓ of a lung.”

In My Blood, by Pascal Dupuis

For those who are bloggers/writers/editors, this article is from the fashion industry, but comes across as very wise advice from Cosmopolitan.com’s editor Amy Odell.  If you want to grow your readers, create qualitative content.  It’s about innovation rather than following what everyone else is doing.  Those are the people that standout.  Those are the websites that bring more followers.  Also, it helps to have a sense of humor.  Highly recommended read for everyone that writes/edits, no matter what your background is.

“If you’re not afraid all the time, you’re not doing your job. If you think about people who had a huge impact on any industry, they didn’t do it by doing what everyone else did before them—they did it by taking risks and freaking a lot of people out along the way.”

Deskside: Amy Odell, from The Coveteur

Another gem courtesy of The Player’s Tribune is Igor Larionov’s story of hockey in Russia back in the day.  What we would consider insane and cruel, as far as the way he was trained to be a hockey player, was actually normal for him.  They did not have access to Western television or culture, so they had no idea that life in the Red Army was not normal according to Western standards.  To them, it was normal.  Probably the most important part of the article was his jab on hockey mediocrity.  There are a few Pavel Datsyuks in Russia, but no one has heard of them.  Why?  Because the NHL breeds not on creativity, but on mediocrity.

“People ask me why this creative style of play is now so rare at the NHL level. The first thing that gets pointed to is the fighting and dirty play. But that’s not the heart of the problem. I’ve never been a fan of fighting, but hockey has always been a violent game. Bobby Clarke purposely slashed Valeri Kharlamov and broke his ankle at the 1972 Summit Series. Those games were more brutal than anything you see today, and it didn’t stop the Soviets from playing creative hockey.”

The Beautiful Game, Igor Larionov

iron curtainSpeaking of hockey in the former Soviet Union and it’s cruelty and abuse, in conjunction with an exclusive I did with Dainius Zubrus, I kicked off this short series with the background to his story.  A former teammate of his youth hockey days, Maxim Starchenko, wrote the book Behind the Iron Curtain: Tears in the Perfect Hockey ”GULAG.”In his book, he details some of the most horrific abuse he endured at the hands of his hockey coach, Ivan Pravilov.  The story is a very controversial story because the book set off a chain of events that not even Starchenko could have foreseen…and his book had nothing to do with Pravilov’s demise just two months later.  In order to understand what happened to the boys, you have to read the book.  Since Zubrus worked with me on how we would tell his growing up hockey story, there are parts of his story that wound up in the first part of the Druzhba 78 tale.  In order to truly understand Zubrus’s story (which will be out after the trade deadline), you need to start here.  This will be the first and last time Zubrus will ever tell his story.

“The desire for success, of course, had everything to do with the children being scared to death of what would happen to them if they lost or played poorly.”

Behind the Iron Curtain: The Abuse Behind Druzhba 78, Michelle Kenneth


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